NJPW Young Lion Cup (14/9/19) Review

This wasn’t a hug. Credit: NJPW

Another day another Young Lion Cup review. We’re into the home stretch of this tournament, and the people we can expect to be battling it out for the Cup are becoming clearer.

Shota Umino (3-1) defeated Yuya Uemura (0-4)

Uemura getting height on the dropkick. Credit: NJPW

Umino vs Uemura was, in many ways, just a match. These two ran through all the Young Lion staples with only Umino’s finishing sequence (the Missile Dropkick followed by the Fisherman Suplex) and Umino’s flash pin reversal of a Crab standing out. It also went less than seven minutes, making it very easy to dismiss.

However, like all of these Young Lion Cup matches, there was an intensity to it that might not make it an instant classic but certainly makes it watchable. You get the impression these pups care about the tournament and want to look good coming out the other end (as they should). It’s a small thing, but it turned what could have been a bland match in the hands of two other wrestlers, into something I enjoyed.

Verdict: Three Stars

Clark Connors (3-1) defeated Michael Richards (1-3)

The gap widens. Credit: NJPW

After Umino and Uemura delivered a clean wrestling contest, Richards and Connors followed up with something closer resembling a fight. These two fell back on stiff chops and running into each other for their offence, which was a nice change of pace.

I still have some issues with Richards who looks like an alright wrestler but is lacking in other ways. His facial expressions and the noises he was making during this match were distracting as everything he did was accompanied by these weird panting grunts. As I said before, it feels very indie, and is something he needs to work on.

Still, if you shove it on mute you can avoid that, and the match was enjoyable anyway, with Connors getting the win via a Spear followed by the Crab. As we get deeper into this tournament, the gap between the top of the block and the bottom gets more and more pronounced.

Verdict: Three And A Quarter Stars

Overall Show

If my maths is correct, Uemura is out of contention. The best he can do is draw level with those on six points, and as some of them will have to win matches before the end, it’s mathematically impossible to reach the top. I suspect that’s also the case for Richards, but I’m less confident about that one. Either way, we’re heading towards the end, and it’s probably safe to rule those two out after these enjoyable defeats.

Watch New Japan: https://njpwworld.com/

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